#AFIDOCS Panel – Content that Matters, Engagement that Counts

The American Film Institute‘s Documentary Festival, AFIDOCS, was held June 18th-22nd in Washington, DC. The 5-day festival took place in various venues throughout the city and at the AFI Silver Theatre. The festival highlighted documentary film as a medium that harnesses the potential to inspire change.

As part of the festival, pride collaborative founder, Felicia Pride, spoke on a panel entitled “Content that Matters, Engagement that Counts“. The panel also hosted several others including filmmaker and Senior VP of National Production and Strategic Partnerships at Independent Television Service (ITVS), Tamara Gould, VP for Community Engagement and Education at POV, Eliza Licht, President & CEO of Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Rich Homberg, Principal at Picture Motion, Heidi Nel, Director of Engagement & Education at ITVS, Duong-Chi Do, and Project Manager at American ExperienceLauren Prestileo.

Each panelist shared their take on content and engagement as it related to documentary filmmaking, citing specific examples from their own projects and weighing in on what filmmakers should do before, during, and after production in order to really reach and connect with audiences.

Felicia spoke about developing tools of engagement within the context of transmedia strategy. She emphasized that strategy is key as the tools can and will always change. She added that certain key concepts of transmedia including building out the story world and the idea of story research and development are critical for the filmmaker.

She cited pride collaborative’s work in the education and outreach strategy on the documentary film project Slavery By Another Name as a concrete point of reference that beckons to the power of transmedia in filmmaking. As the education and outreach partner for the film, pride collaborative was able to assist in gathering asset-based and media rich documents in order to create a curriculum for the film.

The panel discussion concluded with a sound off on rules of engagement. Felicia highlighted the importance of never making assumptions. She offered a way to avoid doing so by bringing the community into the process of development and engagement championing the concept of designing with rather than for. Check out the full panel discussion below:


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